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Ex Post Inefficiency in a Political Agency Model

  • Casamatta, Georges
  • De Paoli, Caroline

We extend the model of Schultz (1996) to a dynamic setting with no policy commitment. Two parties that compete for election must choose the level of provision of a public good as well as the tax payment needed to finance it. The cost of producing the good may be high or low and this information is not known to the voters. We show that there exists an equilibrium in which the party that does not want much of the public good use the inefficient (high cost) technology even though the efficient one is available. Using the low cost technology would, by informing the voters about the cost parameter, force it to produce an excessively high level of the good. Interestingly, this equilibrium is not symmetric, suggesting that a party with a strong taste for the public good is less likely to adopt a wasteful policy.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4275.

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Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4275
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  1. James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2013. "The Political Economy of Clientelism," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 260-291, 04.
  2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  3. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1999. "Inefficient Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2122, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  6. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
  7. Jeffrey Banks & John Duggan, 2001. "A Multidimensional Model of Repeated Elections," Wallis Working Papers WP24, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  8. John Duggan, 2000. "Repeated Elections with Asymmetric Information," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 109-135, 07.
  9. repec:oup:restud:v:63:y:1996:i:2:p:331-44 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
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